University establishes new associate provost position

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 at 9:41 PM
University establishes new associate provost position by Dakota Palmer

Over the summer, Edinboro University announced former department chair Dr. Stacie Wolbert as the new Associate Provost. Wolbert is a faculty member of the Middle and Secondary Education, and Educational Leadership Department and has served in various roles during her time at Edinboro, including: Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence and Professional Development School Director. This is Wolbert’s tenth year at Edinboro.

“I originally started as a full-time temporary instructor in the school of education. I loved teaching and working with pre-service teachers. I was also fortunate to work with a great group of colleagues. The welcoming environment of EU drew me in,” she said. 

Wolbert continued, “Being a chairperson has helped with the oversight of some of my responsibilities. But my involvement in university-wide committees, serving as APSCUF secretary and being a part of the ‘Meet and Discuss’ team has been very beneficial. These experiences were valuable for many reasons, but now they help me meet my new responsibilities.”

Wolbert is the first Associate Provost Edinboro University has seen in quite some time. Dr. Michael Hannan, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that many years ago Edinboro did have an associate provost, but once that individual retired, he was never replaced with a permanent person as a cost-saving measure. 

The associate provost is part of the academic affairs division and has a wide range of responsibilities. Recently, Wolbert’s duties have included researching areas related to academic programming, regional workforce opportunities, university libraries and continuing education, as well as collaborating on several grants. Additionally, Wolbert provides feedback on curricular proposals, supports market research and works with consulting agencies and other data sources to provide for curricular development. 

“A typical day for me involves responding to faculty, administrative and student emails and phone calls; attending meetings; researching and analyzing various information and reports, as well as working with people from across campus,” Wolbert says. 

Hannan added, “An associate provost provides support to the provost for strategic decision-making and addresses special projects and issues that arise in leading the academic affairs division.”

Hannan said that last year, the university’s budget and planning committee proposed and ranked multiple positions that could serve as investments for the university. 

“That group ranked the funding of the associate provost position as the highest priority among the proposals because of the recognition that the workload in the office of the provost was very high and needed support in order to continue to move the university forward,” he said.

“There is an incredible amount of work that comes through the office of the provost, not just from other offices and individuals on campus, but also from the state system office in Harrisburg and other external groups. Having this position filled will allow this work to be completed more efficiently and allow the office to be more responsive to requests. More importantly, the position will allow time for more strategic planning and implementation of new initiatives to improve program options and allow the university to meet student needs,” Hannan says. 

Hannan said that some of the projects Wolbert will be working on this semester include: providing oversight of the authorization of our online programs to be offered in other states; helping ensure that multiple offices on campus are properly positioned to meet the educational needs of the hundreds of workers recently laid off in the region; assisting in providing timely follow-up to student concerns directed to the office of the provost; providing oversight of the academic program review process; coordinating implementation of a grant received this summer to support distance education and connection to more rural high schools; and reviewing curriculum proposals submitted by the academic departments for approval.

Wolbert is currently serving in this position on a two-year basis. She said she took the position because she was “interested in supporting academic affairs.” 

“I am an acting manager, so I am still faculty. I worked hard to earn tenure and I am proud of being part of the faculty so the opportunity to take the position and maintain that status was a big plus.” 

She continued, “I had worked with Dr. Hannan in various contexts over the last couple of years, including reporting to him as the director for the center for faculty excellence. I felt this was a great opportunity to work with someone so vested in EU and I knew he would be a wonderful mentor.”

Dakota Palmer is the voices editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

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